I don’t usually do mornings

Wednesday was Anzac day and I had a day off, the weather has been so lovely for the last few weeks that I decided to make the most of it and get out to take some sunrise images. Sunrise isn’t a time I usually get out and about for, I am definitely more of a sunset person, but with the autumn wearing on sunrise is not too early; a little after 7am in fact. I had been told that Nape Nape was a lovely place to go and never having been I decided it sounded like a good location to try.

Nape Nape is about 90 minutes north of Christchurch, most of the way on the main round but the last 20kms are on shingle track which is a lot slower.

I set my alarm for 5am and managed to get out the door with my camera and a snack before 5.30. The drive was uneventful (I didn’t get lost) and as I got closer to Nape Nape the colours in the sky before dawn were a lovely mixture of peach and orange. I arrived in good time to get organised before the actual sunrise and took lots of images, including a number intended for later HDR processing. 

There was a lot of dashing about looking for different angles and compositions, working fast as the sun rises quickly. It was quite difficult finding the best angles and foregrounds never having been there before.


Before Dawn


HDR (3 exposures) processed with Photomatix and Color Efex Pro


This is mainly monochrome with a little colour brought back.


A vari-ND filter used here to soften the water with a long exposure.


Another long exposure giving misty water.


Here comes the sun


One more HDR (9 exposures this time), again processed with Photomatix

Nape Nape was lovely and the weather warm and clear producing some lovely colours although without any clouds. I will definitely be going back for another go, with different weather and tide the beach will look completely different and the next time I will know better what to expect and where to start taking images. 

The Same But Different

I went out a few nights ago to take some sunset images at a local lake. The sun was setting behind me and with the autumn colours the trees were very colourful. I took a number of images including long exposures using a neutral density filter as some HDRs as well. The compositions were very similar for a lot of these images and I though it might be interesting to see how different processing could produce a range of finished images.

I started with a couple of images of the lakes when I arrived:



I then picked a group of tress with autumn colours on the opposite side of the lake, the sun was hitting the tops of the trees and they looked like they were almost on fire.


This was processed only with Color Efex Pro 4.


And this was basically the same shot processed with Silver Efex Pro 2.


I then took some images using a longer exposure to smooth out the water, processed with Color Efex Pro 4.


And finished off with a couple of different compositions.


This was a 20 second exposure.


And finally  different crop processed with Photomatix and finished in Color Efex Pro 4.

Quite a number options and these are only a few the ones I played with. Having lots of options is good in some ways but also makes ti harder to choose the ‘best’ image. My favourite was the last one, because I feel it most closely meets what I felt and saw when taking the images; the trees looked like they were on fire.



Lewis Pass

Over the Easter weekend I managed to get away for a day and do some tramping, something I used to do lot of in Scotland but have so far failed to do in New Zealand. I decided to head for Lewis Pass having seen a selection of tracks in the area and having so far never seen the pass in anything except rain and snow. The weather over the Easter weekend was glorious so I was pretty sure that I would at least see something!

I arrived at the top of the pass a little after sunrise (there is a limit to how early I could get myself up!) but the light was nice as the clouds were lifting off the tops and the small tarn just off the road.



I decided to take the Lewis Pass Tops track, starting at the top of the pass and heading to a ridge at between 1500m and 1600m, starting by walking through beech forest and then on above the tree line. The route would be best described as direct, straight up the contour lines basically which while fairly steep at least meant it didn’t take long to get to the top. The weather was beautiful for walking if a little bright and clear for photography, no a cloud in the sky for much of the time. I did take some images and will try and get back again at a better time of day.





All in all a lovely day with hardly another soul about. I managed to survive the walk with only a few blisters to show for it. A beautiful place for lunch and put your feet up!

The world at my feet


Laurence Aberhart

A couple of weeks ago on my diploma course we were studying Laurence Aberhart, Aberhart is a New Zealand photographer still working today, he works in black and white and generally photographs static subjects – buildings, memorials etc. I quite enjoyed looking at his images and trying to emulate something of his still style and working with longer exposures.




Kaiapoi War Memorial


111-7 Aberhart

Kaiapoi Boating Club